Yes, why do most brides-to-be feel as though they need to lost weight before they get married? This is a question that's bugged me for a while, but even more so now I am a bride-to-be. I've noticed other bloggers write about similar things, most notably Kat from RocknRollBride, whose post resonated lots with me and got me thinking.
she seems happy about this choice. I bet she wants the chocolate though.
I'm getting married in May & I've known about my big day for several months as we booked the date back in October. But when Andrew, my fiance proposed I'm quite ashamed to say that one of my first reactions was 'Oh my God, I'm going to get lovely and slim for my wedding'. In my mind, I needed to lose about a stone. Now, at 5ft 8 and about 10stone 5lbs (give or take) I was not overweight. I was a perfect BMI. A nice size 10-12. This reaction was wrong on so many levels and now, looking back, it troubles me to think that this was one of my first reactions to becoming a bride-to-be. Was it just me? I've always been a bit conscious of my weight, but I thought I'd finally found a 'happy' weight. Now, all of a sudden I saw the cameras flashing at me as I walked down the aisle and all eyes on me and thought do I look ok? How can I look my best? I know! get thin! I didn't want to, I was happy the size I was but, despite this, it was my first instinct.
I updated my status on Facebook and within hours little adverts on my sidebar began to appear. 'Lose weight the easy way in 12 easy steps' and 'Lose 2 stone in 2 weeks' along with images of Agency Standard models, willowy and beautiful in their floaty dresses. How a bride should look. Or so we're told again and again. Don't get me wrong, it's ok to be willowy and beautiful, I'm not one of these people who talk about 'real' women as if you need to qualify as having a certain amount of curve, as certain soap adverts would have us believe and that infamous meme that was floating around Facebook and Tumblr a few months back. I'm opposing the image that is repeatedly and perpetually thrown at us from every direction and we all know what she looks like, unattainable for most, airbrushed and just, well, a bit boring (dare-I-say?).
Fast-forward to my first day shopping for a wedding dress. I ask about sizes. The sales assistant, (who is absolutely lovely and very down-to-earth) forewarns me and explains to me and my mum who's come along that wedding dress sizes often come up larger, so I may need a size 14 or 16 instead of a 12. This doesn't bother me as I realise that it's just the way the sizes are worked out, kind of like vintage dress sizes, but I'm conscious of the fact that the assistant felt the need to tell me, as if it might upset me
'I've never met a bride who wasn't on a diet' (wedding dress sales assistant, 20 years experience)
This appears to be an unwritten automatic bride mode that is just, well, expected. The more I read and talked about it, the more I felt the need to oppose it. I felt myself going from being determined to slim down, to thinking, 'hang on a minute, this is a bit disconcerting. Besides, I've always prided myself on being slightly eccentric, 'alternative' maybe. Do I really want to be like all the other brides anyway? Do I really want to conform? Around the time of getting engaged we, as a nation, were in Royal wedding mode. It was April 2011 and the papers were full of images of Kate and Pippa Middleton pre-wedding and in full extreme exercise GI Jane mode. Reading the newspapers' accounts of their workouts and vital stats made my eyes water! Exactly how much of it was true or spin I couldn't say and completely besides the point. These women were putting their bodies through extreme diets and workouts and it is presented to us as par for the course. Where was the information about Prince William and his diet and exercise? I'm not going to dissect and critique Kate Middleton's regime (an account of it can be read here . I'm not saying it's wrong to lose weight for your wedding at all - I'm just very uncomfortable with such expectations and pressure inherent in the female experience of marriage.
There's also a new craze in Italy and America that promises to help brides-to-be lose 20lbs by putting them on a drip for 20 days. I mean really. Named the K.E diet, women pay $1500 or more for this treatment, many of whom have deliberately purchased a dress that is 3 sizes too small for them.
the ten day period in which the tube is inserted into the nasal
passage, patients must carry a shopping bag around with them containing
the bags of protein-rich fluids.'
Would You use the K.E drip diet?
Reflecting on my initial thoughts about being a bride and where I've arrived now with my thinking I feel it's fair to say I've had a change of heart about the diet thing. I tried my wedding dress on yesterday - my actual dress that fitted me perfectly. I felt a million dollars in it and, I'm happy the way I am.
I could write for hours on this - the academic in me isn't ready to leave the subject yet but I have to leave to make hats for my customers. I'll leave with a few questions that I'd be interested to hear your response to:
What do you think about this diet culture among brides? Do you think it's healthy? Is there too much pressure on women to look a certain way on their wedding day?